Nadine Mosallam’s Work Transcends Art, Fashion, and Philanthrophy
How the model, designer, and artist sparks difficult conversations that can be a force for change.

nadine mos Nadine and I met for the first time in West London in the summer of 2019. Looking back now it was her feeling of optimism that took me by surprise that day, when only a year later, hope feels like a delicate out-of-reach concept. In the time we spent together the model, designer, and artist opened up on finding individuality, slowing down against the fashion tide, and how sparking difficult conversations can be a force for change. Ironically, such inward reflections have occupied our minds in the last few months as we ache for something new, or our outdated memory of normal.

On Zoom from her London studio a year later, Nadine reflects on this period, “I really thought it was the end of my world. In the past 6 months or so, I distanced myself from designing altogether, because everything was shut down, and I didn’t have access to my work.” Taking the distance had been a blessing for Nadine who, like many of us, relished in the much-needed break, and the joy of not thinking about anything materialistic. “I told myself, I’m going to make nothing for 5 months, and I’m going to be happy this way. I found that was really peaceful for me. All of these things have helped me be okay with being slow, and I want to take that moving forward.”

Nadine Mosallam’s womenswear label, Nadine Mos, is a carefully crafted contemporary label of ethically handmade everyday looks. The designer began releasing a selection of dresses, tops, and hats in June 2019. “At the time of my launch, everything was so new to me. I never had the opportunity to experience the difference between designing and business. I ask myself, what do I like? What would I want for myself? What I want to bring to people … I want it to be honest and call me.” The designer sources fabric from within London, buying in low quantity in an effort to minimize waste. Once the fabric runs out, the design is simply pulled and she moves on to the next one. Mosallam has hope for shifting consumer culture and loves her connection to clients with her made-to-order system. “I like being in touch with the people that are buying my pieces, I feel connected to them. I see my brand as a complement to how I want to view my life, at the end of the day people are buying a part of me.”

When we met in person, Nadine was wearing her Alva dress. It was hugging her curves and cinching her waist, with drawstrings on the front overlapping in a sexy cross, styled on top of a sheer turtleneck blouse with delicate drop-Victorian sleeves. The look was completed with a thigh-high slit. She walked me through the structural details of the piece, “As much as it looks simple there are a lot of details… it’s all adjustable based on the person’s fit.” It’s experimental, but she wants to give you the freedom to make it really yours. After attending the University in Toronto as a fashion design student, Nadine worked under young designers including LVMH Prize Winner Vejas, and for Oveila Transtoto’s own brand. “I had been following a designer named Quoi Alexander, he is incredible. His work reminded me of my drawings, but I never knew how to manifest them into pieces.” Eventually, Paris summoned, and Nadine got the chance to work with him. On her first day, he asked her to make an accessory out of a bath mat, which she turned into a handbag. “You have to be in those situations to show you what you want to ask for, and what you really want.”Her roads led to London once she felt it was time to leave Toronto, where she is still currently based. “My first year was hell. London is incredibly difficult, but there are so many amazing people here.” From working in factories with pattern cutters to modeling for Burberry, i-D, and Gypsy Sport, each experience shaped her fearless approach to navigating the frequently grim design world and the importance of focusing on oneself without self-criticism.

Efforts toward diversity and activism continue to be on the rise for brands and their counterparts, but it’s been part of Mosallam’s brand DNA since day one. What you see is effectively, wholeheartedly 100% Nadine and a reflection of her world, morals, and values. “I don’t disassociate from my designs, I see it as a complement to my art, culture, and values.” On finding genuine participation in the face of bandwagon activism, the designer believes it should come naturally, “The only way to do it is to just do it in your day to day life. Our generation doesn’t even have real freedom of speech, we don’t challenge each other on anything because everyone is afraid of getting canceled.”

nadine mos

Challenging discomfort is what the designer believes can be a powerful force for change. In 2019, Nadine teamed up with Toronto-based filmmaker Sara Elgamal in the three-part film A Piece of Me. The film documents and celebrates the stories and strengths of three Ethiopian women who refuse to be defined by their past experience of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), in collaboration with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). The procedure is known as female circumcision, a practice that attempts to control women’s sexuality and enforce notions of purity. Most girls undergo female genital mutilation at 7 days old, and though the practice has declined amid international efforts attempt to stop it, it is still prevalent in some societies. In the Afar region in Ethiopia, the practice is still at a rate of 91%.

“I had of course heard about it before… but being there and speaking to the survivors, it was beyond what I could have imagined. The lifelong physical and psychological scars are carried forever.” Nadine was approached by Sara to design garments for the film’s FGM survivors, Abida Dawud, Zahra Mohammed Ahmed, and Khadija Mohammed. Elgamal deliberately shifts away from a victimhood narrative with an intention to spread awareness on FGM, which can only effectively end through educating communities. Nadine created adjustable garments with color-blocking inspiration as a form of contrast against the desert. “I worked with terms like warm, feminine, adaptive, so we went with yellow, orange, and Fuschia looks. The fabric and the colors were picked first to make three similar outfits with slightly different cuts and sleeve details. Each woman tried all outfits and picked what they were most drawn to.”

Mosallam joined Sara in Afar, Ethiopia to film and document their stories. Exhibitions took place in Toronto, London, and New York City just before worldwide lockdowns were imposed. Today, the designer finds herself back in her new London studio, with newfound energy to create again. “The last few months have shown me I can do things I was always afraid of. I’m going to continue to do my designs, but I’ll be working on a drop basis, always minimal quantities.”

As the fashion industry shifts, it’s clear that a system of short-lived trends, outdated seasons, and discrimination is no longer tolerated. Nadine feels a deeply personal mission to innovate ethically, represent others without ticking boxes, and to encourage others to do the same. “I’m North African, Muslim, curvy, but being a person of color is a lived experience. We don’t get to see ourselves very often. I want to see someone that looks like me, thinks like me but stays true to values and what we were taught without trying to conform.”

It’s evident that Nadine cares about being a brand that simply speaks to others, ready to do things differently. “Even though there are some things out there that are non-essential, there are brands that I will happily spend on because I value the work that they do. I hope I give whoever buys from me that shared feeling, that they feel represented and part of it.” Nadine reminds us what happens when we settle in the thrill of unknown possibility and give it a chance. “We have the capacity to change the things that we worry about. When we are lost or when we feel restrained, just let things happen.”

Nadine Mosallam’s Work Transcends Art, Fashion, and Philanthrophy
How the model, designer, and artist sparks difficult conversations that can be a force for change.

nadine mos Nadine and I met for the first time in West London in the summer of 2019. Looking back now it was her feeling of optimism that took me by surprise that day, when only a year later, hope feels like a delicate out-of-reach concept. In the time we spent together the model, designer, and artist opened up on finding individuality, slowing down against the fashion tide, and how sparking difficult conversations can be a force for change. Ironically, such inward reflections have occupied our minds in the last few months as we ache for something new, or our outdated memory of normal.

On Zoom from her London studio a year later, Nadine reflects on this period, “I really thought it was the end of my world. In the past 6 months or so, I distanced myself from designing altogether, because everything was shut down, and I didn’t have access to my work.” Taking the distance had been a blessing for Nadine who, like many of us, relished in the much-needed break, and the joy of not thinking about anything materialistic. “I told myself, I’m going to make nothing for 5 months, and I’m going to be happy this way. I found that was really peaceful for me. All of these things have helped me be okay with being slow, and I want to take that moving forward.”

Nadine Mosallam’s womenswear label, Nadine Mos, is a carefully crafted contemporary label of ethically handmade everyday looks. The designer began releasing a selection of dresses, tops, and hats in June 2019. “At the time of my launch, everything was so new to me. I never had the opportunity to experience the difference between designing and business. I ask myself, what do I like? What would I want for myself? What I want to bring to people … I want it to be honest and call me.” The designer sources fabric from within London, buying in low quantity in an effort to minimize waste. Once the fabric runs out, the design is simply pulled and she moves on to the next one. Mosallam has hope for shifting consumer culture and loves her connection to clients with her made-to-order system. “I like being in touch with the people that are buying my pieces, I feel connected to them. I see my brand as a complement to how I want to view my life, at the end of the day people are buying a part of me.”

When we met in person, Nadine was wearing her Alva dress. It was hugging her curves and cinching her waist, with drawstrings on the front overlapping in a sexy cross, styled on top of a sheer turtleneck blouse with delicate drop-Victorian sleeves. The look was completed with a thigh-high slit. She walked me through the structural details of the piece, “As much as it looks simple there are a lot of details… it’s all adjustable based on the person’s fit.” It’s experimental, but she wants to give you the freedom to make it really yours. After attending the University in Toronto as a fashion design student, Nadine worked under young designers including LVMH Prize Winner Vejas, and for Oveila Transtoto’s own brand. “I had been following a designer named Quoi Alexander, he is incredible. His work reminded me of my drawings, but I never knew how to manifest them into pieces.” Eventually, Paris summoned, and Nadine got the chance to work with him. On her first day, he asked her to make an accessory out of a bath mat, which she turned into a handbag. “You have to be in those situations to show you what you want to ask for, and what you really want.”Her roads led to London once she felt it was time to leave Toronto, where she is still currently based. “My first year was hell. London is incredibly difficult, but there are so many amazing people here.” From working in factories with pattern cutters to modeling for Burberry, i-D, and Gypsy Sport, each experience shaped her fearless approach to navigating the frequently grim design world and the importance of focusing on oneself without self-criticism.

Efforts toward diversity and activism continue to be on the rise for brands and their counterparts, but it’s been part of Mosallam’s brand DNA since day one. What you see is effectively, wholeheartedly 100% Nadine and a reflection of her world, morals, and values. “I don’t disassociate from my designs, I see it as a complement to my art, culture, and values.” On finding genuine participation in the face of bandwagon activism, the designer believes it should come naturally, “The only way to do it is to just do it in your day to day life. Our generation doesn’t even have real freedom of speech, we don’t challenge each other on anything because everyone is afraid of getting canceled.”

nadine mos

Challenging discomfort is what the designer believes can be a powerful force for change. In 2019, Nadine teamed up with Toronto-based filmmaker Sara Elgamal in the three-part film A Piece of Me. The film documents and celebrates the stories and strengths of three Ethiopian women who refuse to be defined by their past experience of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), in collaboration with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). The procedure is known as female circumcision, a practice that attempts to control women’s sexuality and enforce notions of purity. Most girls undergo female genital mutilation at 7 days old, and though the practice has declined amid international efforts attempt to stop it, it is still prevalent in some societies. In the Afar region in Ethiopia, the practice is still at a rate of 91%.

“I had of course heard about it before… but being there and speaking to the survivors, it was beyond what I could have imagined. The lifelong physical and psychological scars are carried forever.” Nadine was approached by Sara to design garments for the film’s FGM survivors, Abida Dawud, Zahra Mohammed Ahmed, and Khadija Mohammed. Elgamal deliberately shifts away from a victimhood narrative with an intention to spread awareness on FGM, which can only effectively end through educating communities. Nadine created adjustable garments with color-blocking inspiration as a form of contrast against the desert. “I worked with terms like warm, feminine, adaptive, so we went with yellow, orange, and Fuschia looks. The fabric and the colors were picked first to make three similar outfits with slightly different cuts and sleeve details. Each woman tried all outfits and picked what they were most drawn to.”

Mosallam joined Sara in Afar, Ethiopia to film and document their stories. Exhibitions took place in Toronto, London, and New York City just before worldwide lockdowns were imposed. Today, the designer finds herself back in her new London studio, with newfound energy to create again. “The last few months have shown me I can do things I was always afraid of. I’m going to continue to do my designs, but I’ll be working on a drop basis, always minimal quantities.”

As the fashion industry shifts, it’s clear that a system of short-lived trends, outdated seasons, and discrimination is no longer tolerated. Nadine feels a deeply personal mission to innovate ethically, represent others without ticking boxes, and to encourage others to do the same. “I’m North African, Muslim, curvy, but being a person of color is a lived experience. We don’t get to see ourselves very often. I want to see someone that looks like me, thinks like me but stays true to values and what we were taught without trying to conform.”

It’s evident that Nadine cares about being a brand that simply speaks to others, ready to do things differently. “Even though there are some things out there that are non-essential, there are brands that I will happily spend on because I value the work that they do. I hope I give whoever buys from me that shared feeling, that they feel represented and part of it.” Nadine reminds us what happens when we settle in the thrill of unknown possibility and give it a chance. “We have the capacity to change the things that we worry about. When we are lost or when we feel restrained, just let things happen.”

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